The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is ultrarunning's equivalent of the Super Bowl. With a distance of approximately 171 kilometers (106 mi) and a total elevation gain of around 10,040 meters, it's not the final boss of endurance sports so much much as it is the secret, near-immortal enemy one unlocks after completing everything else there is.
"It's often more hellish than hell," as one brave former competitor put it to me.
Last weekend, Highsnobiety pulled an all-nighter as UTMB athletes dragged themselves through the Alps of France, Italy, and Switzerland. What we saw was not only a feat of near superhuman willpower, but a style parade of rarefied GORP from the fans (allez! allez! allez!) in attendance. Think On, Arc'teryx, Klättermusen, Marmot, Salomon, Goldwin, ROA, Merrell, HOKA, Montbell, La Sportiva... just about every label that matters was represented. Consider Chamonix as an unofficial Disneyland of outdoors wear.
UTMB and fashion week might — ostensibly — be chalk and cheese, but the heads who turned up to the former harbor a passion for dope clothes that is comparable to any critic. The difference is they actually live the lifestyle, wearing their Hydro Mocs to get them wet. Instagram accounts such as l.holl, advanced.rock, and 114.index are making some of the coolest and most authentic content on the platform, so it's no surprise when I discover that the lads are popping up on the mood boards of designers with increasing regularity.
We're long past the days when an Arc'teryx jacket appearing in a street style gallery felt novel — techwear is the new normal these days — but seeing the gear being used in the context of its intended environment was a reminder, if anyone needed it, of just how dope it still is. As one person told me, "the baggier the pants, the better."